Butlins Minehead Resort

In my previous post I reviewed Christmas at Butlins.  Our wonderful family break at Butlins involved lots of activities that were not unique to Christmas.  Here I will explain what made Butlins such a great family holiday.

Climbing the Walls at Butlins

On our recent visit to Butlins Minehead Resort, climbing seemed to be a recurrent theme.

My eldest daughter went on the zip wire and climbed the climbing wall with her dad. She had been very excited about climbing the climbing wall since she had seen it in the brochure. This was a real challenge but the instructors were excellent and with a bit of help from dad she made it to the top. The climbing wall, rope course and zip wire incur an additional charge but worth it for adventurous kids.

Not to be outdone by her sister my 3 year old climbed the tree climb.  She had been asking to have a go throughout the whole break and we finally relented.  The children have 3 attempts at reaching the top and ringing the bell and the fastest time of the day wins a cuddly parrot.  My eldest reached the top all 3 times.  We were howevever, disappointed that it didn’t appear that her time was being recorded anywhere. I didn’t think my 3 year old would get very far but I think you’ll agree that she did brilliantly.

In fact I think if she hadn’t have looked down she would have made it to the top.

Butlin’s climbing wall is suitable for children and adults aged 8+, the tree climb located in the Skyline Pavilion is suitable for any age.

The Tattooed Babies

Me the Man and the Baby are currently running a competition entitled ‘the messiest kids’.  I couldn’t resist entering knowing that I have this amazing picture.

 This is my entry to the Appliances Online messiest kids competition, check out all the other entries over on Me, The Man & The Baby‘.

My 7 year old likes to draw tattoos on her legs with gel pens, some of them are very intricate and beautiful sketches of flowers, fairies and animals.  One afternoon I had left the 2 youngest alone for 10 minutes whilst I was tidying my bedroom when I heard the baby shouting.  I went downstairs to see what the problem was and was greeted by this.  My 3 year old thought it was a lovely idea to use a blue permanent marker pen to draw tattoos all over herself and her sister.  The baby had scribbles on her head, legs and belly (including colouring in her belly button) and back, and the 3 year old was covered from head to toe.messy baby

They were both scrubbed in the bath but the baby had a blue head for about a week after!

Different ways of mark making are encouraged in our house and I love it when the kids are creative, but this wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

Note to self – don’t leave pens in reach of a 3 year old.

The Land of Sometimes – Review and Competition

The first thing that struck me when this cd arrived was the beautiful packaging.   The Land of Sometimes moves away from  standard cd casing, instead presenting it as a book  with captivating illustrations. Each song has an illustrated page in the storybook encouraging the children to follow the story. I had high hopes that the songs would also reflect the magical quality of the artwork.

The Land of Sometimes is an audio storybook and the characters are brought to life by original music. The story follows Alfie and Elise in their journey through the seasons.  They meet a number of colourful characters, and each one is brought to life with a song. The narration is simple and clear and the quality of singing and musical production superb.  I’d love to sing on the follow up if there is one. My 3 year old is a big musical theatre fan and she loved the songs dancing around her bedroom and attempting to sing along.

I generally find children’s song cd’s a bit irritating.  I have been playing The Land of Sometimes in the background while I write this post and it is surprisingly relaxing. The songs are well written and very catchy and move away from the simplicity of some children’s songs by introducing them to a number of musical genre including reggae, folk and jazz.

Put this one in your car and I’m sure you will be singing along in no time.

The Land of Sometimes website is also worth a visit. Children can find out more about the characters and places in the story, colour in some of the beautiful illustrations and download lyrics for the songs.

A beautiful gift for any child with a fondness for stories or music and something that can be treasured for a long time.

The Land of Sometimes is released on February 6th at a retail price of  £9.90 from Amazon.

One lucky reader can win a copy of The Land of Sometimes.

Simply post a comment telling me why you would like to win.

A Bonus entry is available if you follow my Facebook page using the link on the right hand side.

Winners will be drawn at random on 6th February.

Congratulations to the winner Sue Willshee

Terms and Conditions

This competition is only open to residents of the UK and Republic of Ireland

Only one entry per person

Winners will be notified by email and  will be posted on this site.

Loquax Competitions

Watching Family Videos from 20 Years Ago

I lost my mum 11 years ago.  My children have never met her.  They have seen photographs and I talk about her a lot but they don’t really understand who she is.

With this in mind I asked my dad if I could borrow the DVD footage he has of her so that I could show the children.  This starts in 1992 when we had our first camcorder.  I was 21 years old.

My expectation of watching the video was that it would be really difficult and that I would spend the evening blubbing into my pillow.  In fact it had the opposite effect. Watching a family party featuring my mother, grandmother and great aunts who are no longer with us made me feel really warm inside.  It brought back memories of large family gatherings and the characters within them that could be so easily forgotten.

Watching myself was interesting too.  I was surprised at how little I said even in comfortable environments.  I could feel how I might be perceived by others and it gave me a useful insight into myself.  Not that I think I still behave like my 21 year old self but it made me think a lot about the importance of communicating (something I have been reflecting on a lot recently).

It also made me think how lucky our children are.  They have the capacity to record their memories on film so that their children will not only be able to see what mummy looked like when she was young, but they will also be able to watch events and see how she behaved at them. They can preserve those everyday moments that are so quickly forgotten.  I wonder whether in the light of this our perception of history will change? We will have a clear picture of what it might be like to live as an ordinary person during a given age in addition to learning about key historical events.

It was a great exercise to watch these films. My children were fascinated by my parents’ wedding film (no sound as it was transferred from cine film).  They could see how quiet the roads were, how the cars were different and that my dad once was a young man with hair. There are members of my family that I only ever remember as being old, how precious it would be to see them when they were young, not only in photographs but  also how they behaved.  My parents told me what their grandparents were like, but I never had a clear picture.  My children will be able to hear my stories but also see what their grandmother and great-grandmother were like .  How precious is that?

One of the main reasons we made the decision to have our own wedding filmed was that the footage would include family and friends who over time would be gone and we felt it was a special way to preserve their memory.

I must make an effort to take more video of our family. Filming the everyday things and not just special events because they tell us so much and jog memories that would be more easily forgotten.

Books about Children Wearing Glasses – The Pirate of Kindergarten

My 3 year old wears glasses. She has been getting on really well with them and feels quite special and unique.  She wears them because she has a turn and is long sighted.  The ophthalmologist thinks that her glasses will correct the turn, but there is a chance that she will have to have an eye patch.

When we were told she would have to wear glasses, I searched for picture books about children wearing glasses.  I bought the Charlie and Lola book ‘I Really Absolutely Must Have Glasses’.  This didn’t really fit the bill because although it is about going for an eye test and really wanting glasses, Lola doesn’t actually need glasses.

I gave up looking for a while until by  a stroke of fate I came across The Pirate of Kindergarten in a list of top 10 books for Special Educational Needs.  This hit the nail right on the head .  The story is about a little girl who is clumsy and sees in double vision unless she closes one eye.  After attending an eye test they tell her that most children don’t see in this way and  give her glasses and a cool eye patch .  She becomes the Pirate of Kindergarten.

My 3 year old is incredibly clumsy and often falls over and crashes into things.  I asked her if she ever saw 2 of things like the girl and she replied ‘sometimes’.  I don’t know whether she sees in this way, but the book gave me a valuable insight into what the world might be like through her eyes.

This is a lovely book for  a child who wears glasses and for a nursery, pre-school or childminder who is looking to increase their inclusive books. The illustrations are beautiful, the subject matter is handled sensitively and is told in a simple and sympathetic manner that young children can understand.

This post is a personal recommendation, no payment or product was received for writing this review.

I am a Writer


When people ask me what I do, I stumble to explain …

Well, I come from an early education background….. but now I am home with the children……I write a blog about early education and parenting and I’m trying to work out what to do next.


What have I been doing for the past year since I started my blog?  Writing.

What do I do during the evenings and when the children aren’t around? I write a blog.

When I am not writing my blog what do I do?  I write articles for websites, write children’s stories, write poetry and  write diaries.

What do you do when you are not writing?  I research things to write about, read and take photographs of things of interest (oh yes and look after 3 kids).

So I don’t get paid for any of these things but it is what I do.

I am a writer.

I have been writing since I was 6 years old. I would absorb myself so much in story writing  that the words couldn’t hit the page quickly enough and would move in a diagonal fashion away from the margin.  I was always being told that I needed to improve my handwriting.  As a teenager I wrote poetry and short stories and enjoyed writing essays. My English teacher called me her shining star. I always kept a diary and often wrote letters.  I studied English Literature at University (I preferred English Language but there was no degree option for this)  because I loved to read and write. On my honeymoon I wrote a journal of our trip and have kept a diary of pregnancies and the early years of my children’s lives. I had mostly A grades for my essays during my Masters Degree.

I am a writer.

A few years ago I read a book by Ken Robinson called The Element. The book talks about how finding your passion changes everything.  Everyone has their ‘element’, some have more than 1 and some people never realise it.  I wondered at the time what my ‘element’ was and now I know, it is and always has been writing.

I am a writer.

People tell me they like what I write, people tell me they like the way that I write, people even sometimes tell me that they are inspired by what I write.

I am a writer.

I may never get paid  for my writing but that won’t stop me. If I keep writing and sending things to publishers and publications maybe one day I will become a professional writer. Even if I never make a penny as long as I keep writing and people keep reading .

I am a writer.